An outlet store is a retail store for manufacturers to sell their products directly from their own branded store. The store may actually be attached to a large warehouse or factory. Products inside the store may include any end-of-season or over-produced items. Some manufacturers will license their brand for others to open up outlet stores selling their products. Consumers love to shop at outlet stores because of the steep discounts and unique product offerings. You can open an outlet store successfully if you take the necessary steps.
Find competing outlet stores. Search the Superpages website to see if there are any outlet stores in your preferred location. It might be difficult to compete with a nearby outlet store selling the same selection of products. However, you may be able to offer the same products at lower prices if you can keep your cost structure low and buy direct from the manufacturer. You could also try to compete by locating your store where it is more convenient for customers. If you cannot offer something unique that could give you a competitive edge, it might be best to open the store in a different location.
Contract with the manufacturer of the brands you want to sell. Some outlet stores sell multiple brands while others do not sell brand name products. You will need to contract with the supplier of the products regardless of the brand.
Obtain a lease from a shopping mall or a strip mall. The size will depend on the type of product you are selling. You should be able to order more products from the manufacturer at any time, but remember that you will be buying in bulk to secure the lowest wholesale prices because customers will also expect to get the lowest prices for your store brands.
Launch the store with a festive opening event. A new store needs to enter the community with a strong opening to let local shoppers know about it. Create a party atmosphere with balloons and provide free samples or discounted products to interest customers. Market the event with promotional fliers and by prominently displaying signage on the store building itself for customers to see when they walk by. Although you may not be able to afford radio or television spots, you might be able to get some free publicity if you can convince a couple of the local stations and newspapers to cover your store launch as part of their community news reporting segment.
- victorian style store image by Pierrette Guertin from Fotolia.com